Spain’s ministry of health on Monday announced that it was putting all of Spain’s private health providers and their facilities into public control as the spread of COVID-19 continues to grip the country.

The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, said that regional Health advisers may decide on the use of private hospitals “as they see fit” – The Executive also endorsed an extension of the hiring of resident doctors to fill the necessary positions in the face of the crisis of the coronavirus

He made the announcement at a press conference in La Moncloa stating that the Official State Gazette will publish three orders by which all private health facilities are placed under the command of the Health advisers of the autonomous communities, so that they are able to use them “as they consider best.”

The statement was made electronically following the extraordinary Council of Ministers. Illa said that there are three measures which must now be applied:

The first is to reinforce the health system by making use of both the public and the private health systems for both consultation and hospitalisation in specialties such as geriatrics, occupational medicine, intensive, internal, preventive, pulmonology, radio diagnosis and parasitology.

The ministry also authorised the hiring of people with the appropriate degree but without a specialist dedication, or if they have obtained a degree outside the European Union and are still waiting for it to be recognised.

The second measure is to ensure supply lines of no more than 48 hours for those agencies with “stock” of medical equipment needed by Health. These are surgical masks, diagnostic kits, isotopes, protective glasses. In addition, companies that have the capacity to manufacture such items must notify the government of their capability within 48 hours.

The order is also aimed at guaranteeing the supply of data and consolidating it every day at mid-morning, and supply it to the authorities in a standardised way.

The Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, also announced that the Gómez Ulla military hospitals in Madrid and Zaragoza are at the disposal of the Ministry of Health, and in addition, reserve doctors have been called to assist in stopping the pandemic.

The minister said that the military pharmacy has also been asked to provide commonly used medicines.